US hopes to leverage Abraham Accords to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace process
Kushner shared his experience as a passenger on the first commercial flight last year between Israel and the UAE, after the agreement was signed, especially when the El Al jet landed in Abu Dhabi and the image of the Israeli flag was on display for all to see. He said that his team realized how powerful the moment was, so they stayed up all night hammering out aviation agreements so the two countries could immediately start business development and launch the tourism market.
Kushner also noted that the accords were "metastasizing throughout the Middle East and the world," pinpointing to other Muslim countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and even Pakistan, possibly floating a normalization trial balloon between those nations and Israel.
"We've created a new paradigm in the region," he said. "It's imperative we set high expectations of what Abraham Accords can be."
Following the event, Aryeh Lightstone, former special envoy for economic normalization for the Abraham Accords and former senior adviser to US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, told JNS that "the Abraham Accords are not a Republican ideal or Democratic ideal. They are an American ideal. Today's caucus event proved that. But it also proved that the Abraham Accords are a great uniter of Israel. Today, the full spectrum of the Israeli government was represented. The full spectrum of the Israeli people was represented and that speaks to the potential of the Abraham Accords."
He said the fact that senior Moroccan diplomat, Ambassador H.E. Abderrahim Beyyoudh, who heads the Moroccan liaison office in Tel Aviv, spoke at the Knesset is yet another "incredible first in a year of firsts.
Lightstone concluded his remarks by reciting the Shehecheyanu blessing, a prayer said by Jews to offer thanks to God or to commemorate a milestone event.
Lande echoed Lightstone's remarks, albeit from an Israeli perspective, saying that support for the accords and the caucus itself was apolitical.
"The most important thing about this event by far is that it is bipartisan. The fact that we have a co-chairmanship of coalition and opposition in the leadership of this caucus – this is the essence, truly, I mean it from the bottom of my heart, to make Israel strong, resilient and able to really make peace with its neighbors. This is something that we must maintain – the very fragile bipartisan nature of this caucus and in general the unity of our country." Akunis said that he deemed the caucus launch "a huge success."
"It is so very important that these peace treaties were signed and approved here in the Knesset," he said. "I hope we see other countries that want to make peace with Israel. If we are strong, we will have peace treaties with other countries. If we are weak, the opposite will happen."